NEIU Student Spotlight: Laura Nieves

Gary Soriano, Arts & Life Editor


Photo by Emily Haddad

Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) student and Northeastern Programming Board’s (NPB) Arts and Entertainment Chair, Laura Nieves keeps her plate full. As a senior majoring in Studio Art, her knowledge and passion for the arts is extensive and her long list of achievements precedes her.

Some students at university may find it hard to find their own niche, Nieves is no different. “I’ve been to four different colleges and Northeastern is the one that has allowed me to blossom as a student,” Nieves said. She dances, sculpts, performs poetry, has conducted workshops teaching poetry, and hosted a number of events at NEIU since 2010.

As NPB’s Arts and Entertainment Chair, Nieves and the rest of the team are promoting several events for this month. One in particular is in collaboration with the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Constitution Day, taking place on Sept. 25 in Alumni Hall. As part of SGA’s Constitution event, NPB will host! Live Latin@! from 7-10 p.m. featuring three performances: Award-winning and globally recognized Mexican Folklore Dance Co. will perform traditional Mexican dances in corresponding attire, all-female musical ensemble Las Bompleneras and the Vida Bella Ensemble performs award-winning off-Broadway play The Brown Girls.

Nieves is also part of the Northeastern Hip Hop Organization (NH2O) where she has hosted events, most recently the 1st Annual Nest Fest that took place in May and conducted workshops (U.N.I.T.Y. Culture Event, Nov. 2011). NH2O, in collaboration with the Southwest Youth Collaborative, more popularly known as the University of Hip Hop, will host a break dancing battle on Sept. 29 at NEIU that also features live performances, live art and a special guest DJ.

Even with all of her involvement on campus, and homework, Nieves still finds time to nourish her passions. She finds time to paint, write poetry and is a monthly contributor at Subterannean where she break dances with her team at an event titled “I used to love h.e.r.” The event, the title of which takes its name from a song by Chicago hip hop artist Common, features live acts by female hip hop artists from throughout the city.

Nieves is well-connected to her roots as she dances Puerto Rican folk dances, Bomba and Plena. She describes these dances as being cultural and having an influence from the African, Spanish and indigenous presence in Puerto Rico. Her roots expand past her Latina identity into the realm of hip hop, using it to inspire her poetry and break dances.

“It’s always been part of who I am,” Nieves said. She hopes to graduate in 2014 and will continue expressing herself and her passions in the arts.